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Old 2013-01-29, 18:41   Link #3581
LeoXiao
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You can't ditch characters unless you want to ditch most of the language's literary vocabulary. I'm not sure how the Koreans manage (my guess is a full-on vernacularization, but I've heard that Hanja are still used in some circumstances), but I know for a fact that Japanese is full of phrases that sound exactly the same but mean totally different things on account of the characters used. You see this kind of joke in anime and Jdramas quite a bit actually - someone will make a pun, usually based in a pair of some higher-level terms, that in normal usage would be written and read instead of spoken and heard.

Sure, characters take quite a bit of time to master, but the Chinese whose entire language is made of them seem to have no real trouble with it. There is the question of expedience - it is true that an English speaker is theoretically fully literate after second grade (in comparison to a Chinese who reaches the same level probably a couple years later) - I say, why bother? There is culture in the characters. You can still read the texts of the ancients even though the spoken language is now completely different. Using a phonetic system it would be impossible to understand their words as every tenth one would have the same reading. There is no hindrance other than to people used to alphabets complaining about the learning curve.
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Old 2013-01-29, 18:45   Link #3582
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Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
You can't ditch characters unless you want to ditch most of the language's literary vocabulary. I'm not sure how the Koreans manage (my guess is a full-on vernacularization, but I've heard that Hanja are still used in some circumstances), but I know for a fact that Japanese is full of phrases that sound exactly the same but mean totally different things on account of the characters used. You see this kind of joke in anime and Jdramas quite a bit actually - someone will make a pun, usually based in a pair of some higher-level terms, that in normal usage would be written and read instead of spoken and heard.
The main difference between Japanese and Korean is that Korean uses only the sound of the character in regular speech, while Japanese has the difference with On'yomi and Kun'yomi. Taking 東 as an example:

Korean: 東 is read only as "Dong".
Japanese: 東 can be read as "Tou", "Higashi", and "Azuma".
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Old 2013-01-29, 19:03   Link #3583
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Wouldn't that make Korean work even less well than Japanese without characters, or do they have their own native word for "east"? There must be tons of different Hanja with the reading "Dong", which I imagine would complicate things if they all were written the same.
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Old 2013-01-29, 19:06   Link #3584
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Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
"Totally unrelated"? The kanji at the worst have different cultural references behind them like "面白" is literally "white face" but in Japanese it means "interesting" (from theater makeup), but once you learn the reasoning it makes sense. There are also some characters that don't appear so often in Chinese (mostly in classical texts), like 逢 (to run into) but are common in Japanese. This isn't "counterproductive", it's just a matter of localization. If anything it is the Japanese themselves trying to fit the cube into the circle hole with things like かみかぜ (kamikaze) for 神風 instead of "shin-fuu" (which I imagine it would be in on-yomi), which is why I suggest that they might use hiragana for anything that isn't in on-yomi form.

Oh no, the grammar should certainly remain in hiragana, otherwise it would just be classical Chinese with Japanese readings. What I don't like is when non-grammar words are written in hiragana, or worse, katakana.

Katakana is the worst part about Japanese. Even when it is "English", it is often a bitch to figure it out. Take the word 加速度 (acceleration), for instance. If I see that I go "ah, kasoku-dou" and carry on. Now let's say some scientist spent too much time in the States and decided to write アックセラレシオン (akkuserareshion), I do not see the word, instead my brain explodes. Disregarding the fact that 加速度 takes only three spaces to write while that thing needs ten, it is also harder to read. If I encountered that word out of the blue I would probably spend more than a minute at least figuring it out. What's worse, you can't just pronounce "acceleration" the correct English way or else they won't understand you, you have to add the mistakes to make it "Japanese". I know the Japanese themselves find this sort of thing rather trendy but it's a real pain to try to learn it.
Lol...actually, when you see it often enough, the freeze doesn't last more than a split second or so.

About Japanese readings for Chinese words...I rather they remain with kanji for everything. Imagine, would you rather see stuff like ikazuchi, tsurugi, yaoyorozu etc in kanji or the full thing spelt out in kana everytime

While most of the kanji they use are not common in Chinese, well...it IS a different language after all. And the similarities are still present between the characters
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Old 2013-01-29, 19:06   Link #3585
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It's called context. You know what word is being said by the context.
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Old 2013-01-29, 19:27   Link #3586
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Looking at a sample of Korean text, I see that some of the "characters" (yes yes I know they are actually phonetic clusters) are more complicated-looking than others. I guess these "big words" are the actual nouns, verbs, and adjectives as opposed to connectors and grammatical particles, so reading it shouldn't be too hard.

The problem with kana, it seems, is that they are all the same size, so it makes more sense to write 美しい than spell the whole thing ( うつくしい) out. Not to mention the language has no spaces so god forbid it all be in kana.
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Old 2013-01-29, 20:47   Link #3587
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Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
It's called context. You know what word is being said by the context.
This is what I used to think. Then you learn that there's a billion different ways to interpret "shin." Context can only go so far but with kanji you have a much higher rate of knowing what it means then and there. If you had nothing but kana for the writing system then believe me you'll have no idea what the hell is being talked about when it comes to sentences beyond the basics. Though the Japanese are aware of the craziness that is kanji, but they grow up with it so it's just a thousand times more difficult for foreigners. The Koreans eventually saw fit to break out of it, it's possible the Japanese may one day.
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Old 2013-01-29, 20:55   Link #3588
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It's not that simple. The complexity of Japanese in terms of On'yomi and Kun'yomi forces it to use Kanji regularly in order to completely relay ideas.

To consider Japanese as the equivalent of Korean is the thought of those who do not know both languages and focus only on superficial aspects. Korean always had the advantage that only the reading is read when Hanja is used. Japanese does not have that luxury short of a radical change in the language itself.
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Old 2013-01-29, 21:25   Link #3589
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I'm still not sure I understand why Japanese needs Kanji if Korean doesn't need Hanja based on the on'/kun'yomi logic. Whether you say "utsukushi/mi/bi/"etc. for what was once that one single character, what is the problem as long as there is context? It is like the two English suffixes "after-" and "post-", we don't need one word with those two different readings for different circumstances, so why does Japanese?
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Old 2013-01-29, 21:30   Link #3590
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Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
Whether you say "utsukushi/mi/bi/"etc. for what was once that one single character
It was never "once that one single character". Japanese always split the same Kanji character into multiple readings, to the point its basically impossible to understand what a certain sentence is supposed to mean without having the Kanji. Heck, it's damn difficult for me to know what a sentence is supposed to mean when it's in pure Hiragana or Romanji. The massive differences from the start means that short of a complete renovation of the Japanese language, tradition and convention makes it impossible for Kanji to just go away.

As for spoken language: There's a reason why spoken language is far less complex and Kanji-oriented than written language.
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Old 2013-01-29, 21:35   Link #3591
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uh... would the reading of both 川 and 河 being かわ serve as a good example of what you mean?

EDIT:
Quote:
Japanese always split the same Kanji character into multiple readings, to the point its basically impossible to understand what a certain sentence is supposed to mean without having the Kanji.
Waitwaitwait

What happened to the whole thing about "context"? If we're talking about water and a rod, it doesn't matter if I say "gyo" or "sakana", you still should get what I mean.
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Old 2013-01-29, 23:10   Link #3592
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Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
To consider Japanese as the equivalent of Korean is the thought of those who do not know both languages and focus only on superficial aspects.
Languages evolve daily, Japanese is no exception. It'd certainly be a lot harder for the Japanese to do it (stop using kanji) but the fact that it's not static already (in both spoken and written forms) means that it's possible that they could drop Kanji one day. The likelyhood of which depends on how hard they want to try.

Obviously context is present when having a spoken conversation, not to mention nuances and speaking patterns. But the written language in only kana gets very confusing because of the many ways you could interpret any given set of hiragana characters. Context in that regard really only goes so far considering the sheer amount of dependency Japanese has in Kun and On'yomi not to mention how many words are in a language. Perhaps you might have to know and get used to how the language works before this really sinks in.
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Old 2013-01-30, 02:43   Link #3593
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Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
It was never "once that one single character". Japanese always split the same Kanji character into multiple readings, to the point its basically impossible to understand what a certain sentence is supposed to mean without having the Kanji. Heck, it's damn difficult for me to know what a sentence is supposed to mean when it's in pure Hiragana or Romanji. The massive differences from the start means that short of a complete renovation of the Japanese language, tradition and convention makes it impossible for Kanji to just go away.

As for spoken language: There's a reason why spoken language is far less complex and Kanji-oriented than written language.
Sounds to me like spoken Japanese and written Japanese are diverging. Written Japanese is so different from spoken Japanese that it has to be written in Kanji to be understandable. That written Japanese is different from the vernacular, surely must damage literacy?

A similar problem existed in Europe until quite recently as well, the primary written language was Latin (not a vernacular like English), which proved to be a great impediment to literacy.

Today written and spoken English are largely the same. You could speak in written English and be perfectly understood, and write in spoken English (minus filling words like ums or uhs) and be considered a proficient writer. (Of course English has different issues surrounding spelling, but even if spelling was reformed, English would not have a problem with homophones)

But in Japan if you spoke in written Japanese it sounds to me like you wouldn't be understood (heaven help those who try to sell book readings...), and I can gather that if you tried to write in a manner similar to spoken Japanese your writing would be judged inferior.

Sounds almost as absurd as that Shi poem.
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Old 2013-01-30, 02:57   Link #3594
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Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
uh... would the reading of both 川 and 河 being かわ serve as a good example of what you mean?

EDIT:

Waitwaitwait

What happened to the whole thing about "context"? If we're talking about water and a rod, it doesn't matter if I say "gyo" or "sakana", you still should get what I mean.
Uh huh...but in written language, imagine a book completely in kana. Then compare to with kanji

Quote:
But in Japan if you spoke in written Japanese it sounds to me like you wouldn't be understood
You would but it's just that well, you don't write like the way people speak in 2ch (the way youth talk to each other normally) for a formal setting do you?
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Old 2013-01-30, 03:05   Link #3595
LeoXiao
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
Uh huh...but in written language, imagine a book completely in kana. Then compare to with kanji
But if Korean does it without issue, it should be fine right? I guess I'm just not understanding the argument for why having kun-yomi makes Japanese so much different from Korean...

(I am against abolishing kanji, I know what you mean by the "kana-only" nightmare)
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Old 2013-01-30, 03:13   Link #3596
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Don't know a single drop of Korean but it's the way Japanese words are constructed. Kanji+kana= a word. That format. Then you consider due to the yomi there's so many ways of sounding. If you understand the pure kana issue then yeah...you got the main gist of the problem
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Old 2013-02-04, 12:56   Link #3597
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Since it's been mentioned/stated a hundred or so times over about just how hard but necessary it is to learn the kanji, anyone have any suggestions to make it a little easier to learn them beyond just brute memorization (like any helpful sites for practice or whatnot)?
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Old 2013-02-04, 14:31   Link #3598
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Since it's been mentioned/stated a hundred or so times over about just how hard but necessary it is to learn the kanji, anyone have any suggestions to make it a little easier to learn them beyond just brute memorization (like any helpful sites for practice or whatnot)?
My suggestion would be simply to read as much as possible. Now that might sound really difficult but there are books where the kana is added to the top or sides of the kanji so you can tell how it should be read. I have a textbook for instance with a collection of essays that have this feature.

Brute memorization, while it sounds terrible, is actually quite effective in conjunction with normal reading. The trick is quantity and volume. Say you want to learn 20 characters a day: in the morning, take twice that number and go over their meaning and readings, making sure to repeat the readings aloud and write each one 5-10 times. Then take a break and read an essay. If you see any kanji you just reviewed, make mental notes for reinforcement's sake. Then at the end of the day go back and try to write and read out all the kanjis you can remember. As long as you retained a few you are fine. Then create a new set for the next day/session/class/whatever. You may forget some of the kanji you thought you learned well, but don't worry, just keep sending them into the memorygrinder, keep reading different texts, and they will stick eventually.
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Old 2013-02-04, 14:36   Link #3599
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Imho I more or less passed the JPLT 3, I will say it straight, hooray for kanji.

a full sentence in hiragana is aweful, really aweful, at least when there's a kanji you can "not read", since japenese grammar becomes somehow basic once you become used to it, just the fact of looking the kanji can gives you the vibes for the sentence.

Just thinking about making the difference between 以外 and 意外 in hiragana drives me insane.

At least that works for manga, I will let the pros talk about real litterature and newspaper.
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Old 2013-02-04, 16:48   Link #3600
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*~~::Greetings::~~*
Hello = kon nichi wa
goodbye = Sayonara (line above the "o")
yes = hai
no = ie (ie also means house ^_^)
thank you = arigato
Pleased to meet you = Yoroshiku (used on this board alot ^_^)
excuse me (attention) = Shitsurei
Sorry = sumimasen or gomenasai or gomen
Ittekimasu (not to be confused with itadekimasu) is actually used more primarily for goodbye over sayonara.
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